Availability of Advanced Breast Imaging at Screening Facilities Serving Vulnerable Populations. Academic Article uri icon


  • Among vulnerable women, unequal access to advanced breast imaging modalities beyond screening mammography may lead to delays in cancer diagnosis and unfavourable outcomes. We aimed to compare on-site availability of advanced breast imaging services (ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], and image-guided biopsy) between imaging facilities serving vulnerable patient populations and those serving non-vulnerable populations.73 imaging facilities across five Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium regional registries in the United States during 2011 and 2012.We examined facility and patient characteristics across a large, national sample of imaging facilities and patients served. We characterized facilities as serving vulnerable populations based on the proportion of mammograms performed on women with lower educational attainment, lower median income, racial/ethnic minority status, and rural residence.We performed multivariable logistic regression to determine relative risks of on-site availability of advanced imaging at facilities serving vulnerable women versus facilities serving non-vulnerable women.Facilities serving vulnerable populations were as likely (Relative risk [RR] for MRI = 0.71, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 0.42, 1.19; RR for MRI-guided biopsy = 1.07 [0.61, 1.90]; RR for stereotactic biopsy = 1.18 [0.75, 1.85]) or more likely (RR for ultrasound = 1.38 [95% CI 1.09, 1.74]; RR for ultrasound-guided biopsy = 1.67 [1.30, 2.14]) to offer advanced breast imaging services as those serving non-vulnerable populations.Advanced breast imaging services are physically available on-site for vulnerable women in the United States, but it is unknown whether factors such as insurance coverage or out-of-pocket costs might limit their use.© The Author(s) 2015.

publication date

  • June 2015